Skip to main content

Full text of "The Prairie States Forestry Project : what it is and what it does"

See other formats


Historic, archived document 



Do not assume content reflects current 
scientific knowledge, policies, or practices. 



/ 



i. 



99.9 

F763 



UNITED STATES 
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
LIBRARY 




UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT Of AGRICULTURE 
-U,S. FOREST SERVICE 



. PRAIRIE STATES FOfitESTRY PROJECT // 



LEGEND 

PLANTING OlSTXiaS 1940 
STATE HEADQUARTERS 

DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS 

MURSERtES 

REGfONAL OFFICE 

(SEE REVERSE FOR LOCATION) 




UNITED STATES DEPAETMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
FOREST SERVICE 
Prairie States Forestry Project 



LOCATION OF FIELD UNITS FOR 1940 



*** 



REGIONAL OFFICE, 



.LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 



*** 



NORTH DAKOTA 



KANSAS 



State Headquarters: 

Jamestown. 
District Headquarters; 

Devils Lake 

Valley City 

Oakes 
Nurseries : 

Towner 

Mandan 

Enderlin 

Oakes 

SOUTH DAKOTA 

State Headquarters: 

Brookings 
District Headquarters: 

Aberdeen 

Huron 

Watertown 

Mitchell 
Nurseries: 

Brookings 

Pierre 

Sioux Falls 



State Headquarters: 

Manhattan 
District Headquarters; 

Hutchinson 

St. John 

Kinsley 

Kingman 
Nurseries : 

Abilene 

Hutchinson 

OKLAHOMA 

State Headquarters : 

Oklahoma City 
District Headquarters: 

Enid 

El Reno 

Elk City 

Mangum 
Nurseries : 

Purcell 

Chickasha 

TEXAS 



NEBRASKA 

State Headquarters 

Grand Island 
District Headquarters; 

Neligh 

Alliance 

Colmbus 

Kearney 
Nurseries : 

South Sioux City 

Norfolk 

Fremont 



State Headquarters: 

Yfi Chita Falls 
District Headquarters: 

Shamrock 

Childress 
Nursery: 

Plainview 



S72B9S 

UIIITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
FOREST SERVICE 



^0- 

TII E PRAIRIE STATES FORESTRY PROJECT 
WHAT IT IS AND TAIHAT IT DOES , 



1. Q. What is the Prairie States Forestry Project, and -what does it do? 

A. It is a branch of the Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agricul- 
ture, Twhose function is to aid farmers in the establishment of field 
shelterbelts in certain parts of the Great Plains region, and provide 
worth-while work for the vinemployed. 

2. Q, Where does the Project operate? 

A. In the eastern half of North and South Dakota, the western two- 
thirds of Nebraska, central Kansas, central and v/estsm Oklahoma 
and northvfe stern Texas . 



3. Q. What is a field shelterbelt? 

A. It is a windbreak of trees, long and relatively narrow. Those 

planted by the Forest Service are usually 10 rows wide and a half 
mile or more long. 

4 Q. Why are field shelterbelts necessary in the Plains area? 

A. Because of its level topography, the Great Plains region is subject 
to relatively high and constant wind movement. Such winds tend to 
erode unprotected soil and cause excessive evaporation. Oi'iginally, 
Nature protected the soil from the winds by covering the terrain 
with a tough, thick sod of drouth-resistant grasses, but where the 
land has been plowed this cover has long since been removed. The 
result has been widespread wind erosion of valuable farm land, afad 
in addition most cultivated crops -are not so well adapted to resist 
the effects of wind as were ^±ie native grasses, so that they are 
sometimes dajtnaged by the erosive process and by critical hot winds. 
Tree windbreaks represent one phase of man's ©ffor^ts to harmonize 
the necessities of civilization with the unchangeable climatic 
characteristics of the region. 

5. Q. How do field shelterbelts affect this condition? 

A> The shelterbelts lift and slow dovm the surface winds, lessening 
their power to blow topsoil away or to blow seed from the ground. 
They also reduce the power of the winds to sap moisture from the 
soil. In summer the trees shield grovdng crops from the burning 
winds, and in winter they prevent snow from being blown off the 
fields. Besides their direct benefits to soil and crops, the 
trees furnish natural cover for insectivorous and game birds, and 



supply fuel wood and fence posts for the farms. In winter, es- 
pecially, livestock finds shelter in the lee of the shelterbelts 
from severe blizzards and driving snowstorms. The field shelter- 
belts planted by the Forest Service are designed so that the winds 
are lifted from the ground, part of the air currents filtering 
through the tree foliage at a reduced velocity and part being sent 
over the tops of the trees. 

6. Q. What evidence is there that the trees will grow on the Plains if 
planted? 

A. Since the planting of shelterbelts was begun by the Forest Service 
in 193-5, more than two-thirds of the trees planted have lived in 
spite of the unfavorable climatic conditions which have prevailed 
most of the time. For many years before that various Federal and 
State agencies had been conducting research and experimentation in 
tree culttire on the Plains, and millions of trees have been planted 
by farmers themselves since settlement began. Unfortunately, back 
in the days of the old "Timber Culture Act" little -vvas knoim of 
proper forest tree culture so that much of the planting effort was 
wasted, but even under these conditions many plantations survived 
due to prime planting conditions or better care and stand today as 
evidence of the possibilities of successful tree culture on the 
Plains . 



7. Q. Can trees be grown in all parts of the Plains? 

A. No. T/hether trees can be grovm depends upon the amount of annual 
precipitation, the rate of moisture evaporation, and the character 
of the soil. The amount of moisture tapers off from east to west 
rather uniformly, reaching a low annual figure in the western part 
of the Plains, but the soil -types are like a patchwork quilt, with 
no regular pattern. On the eastern edge of the Plains, the moisture 
supply is such that trees will grow there readily, even in types 
of soils which will not support trees farther west where the pre- 
cipitation is less. In the western portion, the moisture supply is 
too scanty for trees even where the soil types are otherwise suited 
for trees . Between those extrem.es is a large territory where gen- 
erally trees will grow readily if they are handled properly and if 
the competition of other forms of vegetation for the availal|>le 
moisture supply is eliminated. Yfithin this large territory, how- 
ever, will be found areas where the soils will not support tifees 
although the moisture supply is adequate. 

8. Q. Will the shelterbelts increase rainfall? 

A. There is not so far any scientifically produced evidence that tree 
planting on the Plains mil influence precipitation. 

9. Q. How is the shelterbelt planting program operated? 

A. The program is on a strictly cooperative basis, the farmer and the 
Government sharing fairly equally in the cost of ultimately estab- 



-2- 



lishing the belt. The Forest Service grows the seedlings in nurs- 
eries and plants them in the belt, and erects the necessary fence, 
while the farmer prepares the planting site, furnishes the nec- 
essary fence materials, cultivates the plantation, etc. After 
planting, the Forest Service furnishes the farmer advice on the 
care of the trees, and sometimes i\irnishes or loans him certain 
specialized materials and tools such as poison for rodent control 
and subsoilers for preparing the planting site. 

10. Q. Who may apply for a shelterbelt? 
A. Any landowner. 

11. Q. Are all applications for shelterbelts accepted? 

A. No. The farm must be within an established work area and the land 
adapted to successful tree culture. 

12. Q. Hov; are the locations of shelterbelts selected? 

A. TMien an application is received, a Forest Service official examines 
the farm to determine whether a belt shall be planted, and with the 
farmer determines the location where it vri.ll be of greatest benefit. 
Shelterbelts are planted as nearly as possible at right angles to 
the prevailing winds, but are located along section lines or quar- 
ter section lines so far as practicable. 

13. Q. Who selects the trees to be planted? 

A. The Forest Service. The composition of the shelterbelts is varied 
to provide trees which are suited to the different soils that arc 
encountered . 

14. Q. Is there any limit to the amount of shelterbelt a person may obtain? 

A. The limitation is on the basis of area, not ownership, and because 
so much is to be done it has been necessary to limit the plantings 
to two miles of shelterbelts per section of land, thus fonning the 
basis for a complete protection planting program. The amoxmt of 
shelterbelt that will be planted on a farm in any one year, however, 
will not be more than the farmer can care for properly-. 

15. Q. When v^ere the first shelterbelts planted by the Prairie States 

Forestry Project? 

A. In the spring of 1935, when 125 miles of shelterbelts were planted 
in the six States. 

16. Q. How much planting has been done to date, and where? 
A. See table on reverse of this sheet. 



3< 



Miles of Shelterbelts Planted by Prairie States Forestry Project 



State 


1935 


1936 


1937 


! 1938 


1939 


Total 


N. Dak. 


40 =25 


222,50 


82.00 


318.50 


551.13 


1,214.38 


o • uaK. . 


9Q 1 9 
CO • i.C 


COO • DO 


TAR no 


^tOX . ( O 


cm on 




Nebraska 


21.00 


150.50 


338.50 


1,006.62 


1,009.7 5 


2,526,37 


Kansas 


c4 . / 0 


<;iO .CO 


cUc .oo 


byb.OU 


'TOT r\A 




Oklahoma 


! 14.00 


157 .25 


325.38 


: 1,044.50 


: 508.62 


. 2,049.75 


Texas 


1.00 


171,00 


225.50 


: 768.00 


: 434 cOO 


1,599.50 


Total 


! 129.12 


, 1,152.38 


1,321.76 


4,265.87 


4,085.50 


10,954.63 



Only 228.5 miles, or 2 percent of all miles planted have been abandoned as 
failures , 



Trees Planted in Shelterbelts* 



State 


1935 


1936 


1937 


: 1938 


1939 


: Total 


lil. Dak. 


632,600 


. 3,577,820 


3,922,932 


4,911,923 


6,437,456 


19,482,731 


Dak. 


498,250 


4,544,310 


4,048,895 


. 5,998,139 


7,814,834 


22,904,428 


Nebraska 


307,500 


2,331,575 


3,372,307 


7,981,238 . 


10,327,523 


24,520,143 


Kansas 


200,000 


3,442,900 


3,445,821 


5,567,919 : 


8,789,318 


21,445,958 


Oklahoma 


187,495 


1,378,900 


3,063,616 


. 8,693,209 


6,803,560 


20,126,780 


Texas 


! 13,880. 


1,770,756 


. 2,622,313 


. 6,119,610 


6,350,600 


16,877,159 


Total 


. 1,839,725 


17,046,261 


20,475,884 


39,272,038 


. 46,523,291 


:125,157,199 



♦ Includes treea planted to fill in rovfs left blank in previous years (es- 
pecially evergreen rows) , and replacements of trees -which failed to survive 
the first year after planting. 



Number of Farms on "'t'Vhich Shelterbelts Have Been Planted 



State 


1936 


1936 i 


1937 


: 1938 


1939 


. Total 


N. Dak. ! 


69 


327 


94 


460 


798 


1,748 


S. Dak. ! 


54 


445 


251 


805 


1,448 


3,003 


Nebraska i 


47 


241 ! 


459 


! 1,588 


1,733 


4,068 


Kansas s 


53 


367 


311 


952 


1,286 


: 2,969 


Oklahoma ! 


38 : 281 


540 


1,664 


899 


3,422 


Texas 


2 


! 275 


306 


813 


568 


1,964 



Total : 263 : 1,936 : 1,961 : 6,282 : 6,732 : 17,174 



..4- 



17 . Q. 



VvTiat kinds of trees are planted? 



A. About 40 different species are used, all of them native to the 
Plains or imported species which have proved to be hardy there. 
Several different species are used in each shelterbelt. 

18. Q. Why so many different kinds in one shelterbelt? 

A. First, rows of tall, extremely rapid-gro^'dng trees are needed to 
erect a barrier against the winds in the shortest time possible 
for the protection of the adjoining fields. Other rows of slovrer- 
growing trees flank the fast-growers and on the outside are low 
shrubs, so that when the shelterbelt attains reasonable size the 
crown will be roof-shaped. Such "streamlining" lifts the v/inds up 
from the groxmd and over the field, but some of the air passes 
through the tree foliage at a reduced velocity to prevent dead air 
spaces from developing in the lee of the shelterbelts . Using sev- 
eral species also affords insurance against any epidemic of disease 
or insects which may wipe out a given species and provides trees 
of different life spans so that the belt can be perpetuated indef- 
initely. 

19. Q. T(Vhat has been the survival of the trees which have been planted? 

A. Survival has been good. Present indications are that from 90 to 

95 percent of all the shelterbelts planted will develop into effec- 
tive vandbreaks. Of the 11,000 miles of shelterbelt planted, only 
slightly more than 225 miles have been aba^adoned as failures, in- 
cluding some experimental plantings to test the possibilities of 
areas which were considered doubtful for tree growing. Most of the 
losses occur during the first year. There are alv/ays some losses of 
trees in all belts, and where necessary these are replaced during 
follovang years. The trees are originally planted somewhat more 
thickly than required for the final stand, in order to provide 
quick coverage of the grovmd, so that it is not necessary to re- 
place very light losses. 

20. Q. What are the principal causes of loss? 

A. Lack of, or poor cultivation, grasshopper and rodent damage, and 
drouth . 

21. Q. "Why is cultivation of the trees so important? 

A. The moisture supply in the region where the Project operates is 

enough for trees if they can have what is available. If, however, 
weeds and grass are permitted to grow in the shelterbelts, they 
consume the greater part of the season's precipitation and the 
treos do not receive enough. Cultivation eliminates the weeds 
and grass and also reduces run-off of rainfall. 



-5- 



22. Q. 



How long must the trees be cultivated? 



A. Until their leaves shade the ground within the shelterbelts so 
that weeds and grass can not growo This varies from two to four 
years for fast-growing center rows, but for the slower-grovdng 
outer rows cultivation extends over a longer period. 

23. Q. What tools and implements can be used in cultivation? 

A. The ordinary cultivation equipment found around the farm will do 
for cultivation between the rows. A "grape hoe" will do a good 
job of cultivation in the rows between the trees, although hand 
hoeing close to the trees is necessary. 

24. Q. How much protection will a shelterbelt give? 

A. The zone of influence of a shelterbelt varies directly with its 
height, and also, of course, with its density and conformation. 
After striking a belt of ideal density and shape, the vj-ind does not 
again attain its initial velocity until it reaches a distance be- 
yond the belt equal to about 50 times its lieight. However, the 
effective zone of influence is not nearly so wide as that, and 
varies with both wind velocity and the purpose to be served. For 
example, if a 30-mile-hour vfind vrore blowing, and v;lnd erosion 
occurs on the particular soil type in question when the vdnd 
velocity exceeds 20 miles per hour, the actual effectiveness of 
the belt in stopping vand erosion would extend over an area only 
tiTO thirds as mde as that over v»rhich it exerts some effect on wind 
movement. Considering all purposes, and average wind velocities, 
it is considered that the shelterbelts have an effective zone of 
ini'luence equal to 20 times their height on the leeward side. They 
also have some influence on their windward side for a short distance. 



25. Q. How fast do the trees grow? 

A. The rate of gro-vrth varies. Some of the species grovj" more rapidly 
than others, while trees in the South have a longer growing season 
than those in the North and, therefore, usually progress more 
rapidly. The amount of moisture available is greater in the eastern 
portion of the region, so gro\vth is more rapid there than it is 
farther west, vj-hile in all sections differences in the soils affect 
tree grovrth, as does the amount of care the trees receive., Many 
trees of the fast-growing species in shelterbelts five years old 
range up to 30 feet tall in the south and 20 feet and more in the 
north, mth the slower-growing species in those same shelterbelts 
making corresponding growth. Although trees grow more rapidly in 
the South in their early years, the trees in the North at maturi-ty 
mil be the taller. 



26. Q. YJhere does the Forest Service secure the trees? 

A. Most of them are groTm on' land leased from commercial nurseries 
or farmers, but operated by the Forest Service, and some are pur- 
chased from commercial nurseries = 



-6- 



27 . Q. 



What precautions are taken to insure that the trees will be thrifty 
and drouth-resistant? 



A. The Forest Service collects the seed from healthy trees occupying 

sites of similar characteristics to those where the seedlings are to 
be planted. This is very important, since over a period of many 
generations trees adjust their habits to the site conditions in 
which they grow. 

28. Q. Are the field shelterbelts planted by the Forest Service all of the 

tree planting needed on the Plains? 

A. No, indeed. They form only the basic framework. Other tree plant- 
ing v:hich is needed badly includes intermediate shelterbelts of 
three or four rows of trees between those planted by the Forest 
Service, shelters for range stock and stock feed lots, woodlots, 
community forests, windbreaks to protect homos, school yards, rec- 
reation areas, churches and cemeteries, roadside plantings, munici- 
pal park and street planting:;, and ornamontal plantings to beautify 
home surroundings . 

29. Q. IVhy does not the Project engage in all types of tree planting? 

A. The tree-planting job on the Plains is so vast — estimated to be 
more than two billion trees for protection purposes alone -~ that 
the great bulk of it must be done by private effort. The Forest 
Service feels that it should concentrate its efforts on a type of 
work having broad influence in protecting the soil and general 
economic security of the region, leaving to private initiative those 
types whose values lie more in the aesthetic and social fields. At 
the same time, however, the shelterbelt program furnishes a pattern 
and stimulus for private effort. 



-7-